What qualifications do I need to be a teaching assistant?

What qualifications do I need to be a teaching assistant?

If you are looking for a route into teaching in the UK, you may wonder what qualifications are required to become a teaching assistant. A teaching assistant plays a valuable role in the classroom, supporting the teacher and pupils to ensure lessons are delivered smoothly, helping pupils with tasks, preparing materials, addressing behavioural problems and working with the wider school team with activities and events outside the classroom.

The qualifications required to become a teaching assistant may vary depending on the specific school or local authority. However, there are some qualifications and experience that can help budding teaching assistants ensure that their application stands out from the crowd.

Teaching assistant qualifications - what do schools look for?

GCSEs grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) in English and maths

The minimum education requirement to apply for a teaching assistant position in the UK is to have achieved GCSEs grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) in English and maths. If you do not have these qualifications, there are courses you can apply for to gain these before making your application.

Level 2 or 3 Supporting Teaching and Learning qualification

While there is no requirement to have a specific teaching qualification in order to become a teaching assistant, those who have undertaken a Level 2 or 3 supporting teaching qualification will demonstrate they have the specific skills and knowledge required to undertake this role successfully The qualification can be gained through a college or a training provider. These qualifications provide an understanding of the skills needed to work in a school setting and the role of a teaching assistant.

Experience working with children

Schools often prefer candidates who have some experience of working with children, such as through volunteering, previous work experience or as a parent. You'll also need to show that you can work well with children, teachers and parents. A qualification in nursery work, childcare, playwork or youth work will give you an advantage and show that you enjoy working with young people and have a good understanding of how to motivate them, address behavioural issues, and keep them engaged and motivated.

A up to date DBS Check

Anyone working with children must have an up to date. Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check: This is a criminal record check, and while there is no official expiry date, this check will need to have been carried out recently in order for schools to accept it.

Additional relevant skills and qualifications

Depending on the school, additional qualifications can help give you an advantage when trying to secure a teaching assistant position. Skills such as first aid, and knowledge in safeguarding, and behaviour management can be great additions to your CV.

If you don’t have the qualifications and skills above, and want to become a teaching assistant, don’t worry. There are plenty of ways you can achieve these qualifications and start your career in education.

Find your new position as a teaching assistant today

At Horizon Teachers, we are committed to helping people find their dream roles in education. If you are looking for a teaching assistant role, why not browse our jobs board, or get in touch with our team to see how we can help you today.